JUNEAU, Alaska - A controversial bill that would criminalize federal gun regulation in Alaska is on track to be scheduled for a vote.
HB69, by House Speaker Mike Chenault, was moved from the House Judiciary Committee on Monday. It would make it a felony for federal officers to attempt to enforce any new federal laws, regulations, rules or orders that attempt to limit ownership of a semi-automatic firearm or magazine, or require a firearm, magazine or other firearm accessory to be registered.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed concern about federal attempts to regulate firearms and federal "overreach" in general.
The bill has garnered broad support among House Republicans and become a strong symbol in the fight against federal overreach. But a legislative attorney, Kathleen Strasbaugh, has said she believes much of the bill is unconstitutional.
Rep. Max Gruenberg, D-Anchorage, echoed this sentiment during the committee's deliberations.
"The feds don't blink at this," Gruenberg said. "They will enforce federal law. And if people attempt to rely on this, they may find themselves facing a federal jury."
While he agrees with the bill's sentiment - the protection of the Second Amendment and the fight against federal encroachment - and did not stand in the way of moving the bill from committee, he said he could not support a bill that he deemed unconstitutional, not enforceable, misleading and expensive to try to uphold in court.
Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, a co-sponsor of the bill, disagreed.
"Sometimes statements by themselves are important," said LeDoux, R-Anchorage. "Sometimes the feds do blink."
Sixteen other states have proposed "nullification bills," or legislation that aims to make federal law unenforceable, regarding gun control this year.
The U.S. Supreme Court has never upheld a nullification bill, according to professor Hugh Spitzer of the University of Washingto n School of Law. Spitzer and opponents of nullification legislation argue the Civil War settled the issue of nullification's constitutionality.